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5/12/2014 - Town Holds Public Session on UI's Tree Trimming Program May 27, 2014
First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that the Town of Fairfield will hold a Public Information Meeting on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 7 pm at Tomlinson Middle School’s Auditorium, 200 Unquowa Road, to give members of the Fairfield community, including residents, the opportunity to hear a presentation from The United Illuminating Company on its Vegetation Management Program which is slated to begin June 1, 2014. The public will then be given ample time to offer comments on this tree trimming program throughout the Town. 

Representatives from UI will give a presentation followed public comment. In addition to the First Selectman attending, the Town’s Tree Warden, Ken Placko, will also be present.

First Selectman Tetreau said, “Based on requests for more information on UI’s plan to trim or remove trees, I want our citizens, business owners and any organization with trees that may be recommended for pruning or removal, to receive an opportunity to attend this meeting and give input before UI starts this program. This meeting will also help members of our community learn more about how this program will work.”

In early May, the State legislature passed a Bill, which the Governor needs to sign, to increase the public’s input in how and when trees are trimmed under a utility trimming program. The Bill can be found at www.cga.ct.gov by typing 5408 to the right of “Bill” at the top of the page and clicking “go”. 

The Bill improves the process for the Fairfield community to have a role in deciding how and which trees a utility can remove or prune, and determine when and how they do so. Some Bill highlights include:
• CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is now required to review the utilities tree trimming plans;
• CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is to provide a biennial report to the Legislature reviewing the utility’s tree trimming policies;
• Refining definitions to focus on retaining healthy trees and clarifying that pruning must be done in a manner that retains the structural integrity and health of the tree;
• Clarifying the rights of those who have a tree entirely on private property and those who own property abutting or adjacent to trees in the public right of way;
• Providing that no work may be done on a tree entirely on private property without the affirmative written consent of the owner;
• Specifying information on the notice to be provided by the utility that one can object and that there is no liability for objecting;
• Objections can be mailed or emailed to the utility via a dedicated email account;
• PURA is required to establish a mediation process to hear objections and requests to revise the utility proposal, including a request for stump grinding. Final appeal still available to PURA; and
• Burden on the utility to prove that the public convenience and necessity require the work proposed.
For more information on UI’s Vegetation Program, please go to “Protecting Your Service: UI’s Vegetation Program,” which can be found at www.uinet.com